Valier is looking bright and hopeful this year as a drive around town shows evidence of more residents putting up Christmas lights and holiday displays than usual. There’s a horse and buggy alight on Hwy. 44, a Gingerbread Fantasy on the east end of Illinois Avenue, lights in the City Park, and residential displays ranging from classic and religious, to colorful and commercial. 

Iconic snowflake lights adorn Hwy. 44 and Montana Street. Those snowflake lights are curious to newcomers. They don’t match.

The uninformed observer might conclude that someone didn’t make any effort to create a uniform display in Valier. They may even consider the two mismatched snowflakes – one red and one blue – a little bit tacky for a town trying to dress up for the holidays. 

Those who know feel differently, and those who don’t know should know.

According to an article published in The Valierian Nov. 30, 2011, the first eight snowflake lights were displayed in Valier that year. Purchased by the Valier Area Development Corporation, efforts were then made to raise funds for additional snowflakes.

 “The blue one that was first put up on the light pole by Curry’s was purchased with funds donated by Brian and I in memory of Quin (Loendorf),” recalled LeAnne Kavanagh, co-publisher of The Valierian. Quin was killed in a car wreck before his senior year in college. He worked for us all through high school and summers after that.” 

Quin was the son of the late Ron and Lisa Loendorf and passed away on Aug. 24, 2011. He was a 2008 graduate of Valier High School and was majoring in Journalism and Japanese at the University of Montana at the time of his death.

This year you will find the blue snowflake hanging by Lake Frances Inn.

What a thoughtful way to honor someone’s memory. 

Armed with this information, one would surmise that the red snowflake (near the park on Montana Street) must also have some significance. The answer did not come quite so easily. 

When you need to know something about local traditions, ask someone who has been in the area for a few years. After a few phone calls and investigative texts, Linda Kuka and Sheron Curry both provided the answer to, “What does the red snowflake mean?”

Randy Boumans, former Valier High School Shop teacher, passed away at the age of 62. Randy taught in Valier for 25 years. The red snowflake was purchased by Kay Boumans as a memorial, a reminder for Randy’s children and former students. 

Yes, newcomers and passersby may think the blue and red snowflake seem out of place, but to those who know, they are right where they need to be.

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